Back-to-school bus safety: Do you know when to stop?

It will soon be that time of year again when we share the roads with school buses every morning and afternoon.

Lt. Mike Shaw with the Michigan State Police Department breaks down the law when it comes to bus safety, explaining the difference between red and yellow blinking lights. 

"Now a lot drivers use yellow lights when they don't want to cause traffic backups, and they know the kids aren't going to cross in front of the bus," he said. "So if you see a blinking yellow light, it's like any other one. You just continue on, being very careful as you go past. If it's a blinking red light - then that means you have to stop."

You have to stop if the lights are blinking red, regardless of if those stop signs have been extended from the side of the bus or not. 

Shaw says when you do have to stop, you should stop about 40 yards away from the bus.

"Don't trust the kids to stop and say where they are for you," Shaw advises. "Expect them to run out."

There's only one type of roadway that you don't have to stop for the bus, and that's if the road is divided by a median or a barrier. Otherwise, you must stop if you're on a two-lane road, or on a multi-lane paved road that's only divided by the left turn lane in the middle. 

You can get more information on the school bus safety inspection program online here